Women's History Month: 27 Modern Women Making History

It’s Women’s History Month and there is so much to celebrate! We’re raising our glasses to these modern history-makers. Here’s our list of 27 women who have (in recent history!) changed our world for the better. 

Michelle Yeoh - Actress

Michelle Yeoh, the star of movie Everything Everywhere All at Once is having a record-breaking year. After winning a Golden Globe in 2022, the Malaysian actress was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. This is the first time the Academy has nominated an Asian-identifying actress in the category.


Kit DesLauriers - Mountaineer & Skier

Kit DesLauriers was the first woman to ski Mt. Everest and the first person to climb and ski the Seven Summits. She was inducted into the 2019 US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, works on the NorthFace Global Athlete team, and continues to break records as a professional mountaineer and skier.


Annette Richmond - Influencer, Founder of FatGirlsTraveling

As the founder of FatGirlsTraveling on Facebook & Instagram, Annette Richmond has changed the way we look at body positivity and representation. She realized that travel & style content lacked representation of women with all kinda of bodies. After using the hashtag #FatGirlsTraveling herself, the movement began to pick up momentum. Now, her social media presence has turned into a community and movement where people can come together to vent, share stories, and connect.


Alison Bechdel - Cartoonist & creator of the Bechdel Test

Ever heard of the Bechdel Test? You should. It’s a measure of the representation of women in film and media. The criteria are: the content must have at least two women in it, who talk to each other about something other than a man. You’d be surprised how little that happens, especially in older films. Bechdel continues her career as a cartoonist & author of two graphic novels.


Tarana Burke - Activist, Founder of #MeToo movement

As the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke has made a huge impact on the world since her passion for activism at a young age. The activist from The Bronx started using MeToo in 2006 to help women with similar experiences to stand up for themselves. A decade later, #MeToo became a viral hashtag when celebrities and other women used it to tweet about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse. 


Deb Haaland & Sharice Davids- US Representatives

Deb Haaland from New Mexico and Sharice Davids from Kansas became the first of two Native American women elected to Congress in 2018. Haaland currently serves as the United States Secretary of Interior and is an enrolled citizen of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe. Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation is the first openly LGBTQ Kansan elected to congress. 


Sarah Thomas - NFL Football Referee

Sarah Thomas continues to shatter glass ceilings in football. You may know her from officiating the 2021 Superbowl, but it was quite the journey to get there. Beginning her career in 2006, she became the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first full-time female official in NFL history. If anyone knows a thing about drive and persistence, it’s Sarah Thomas. 


Victoria Pannell - Activist

Victoria Pannell is an activist from Harlem. At 16 years old, she became the youngest person to sit on her local community board. That same year, she organized the #NationalSchoolWalkout to protest gun violence in schools. She inspired thousands of students in every state in the US to walk out of their classrooms. Afterward, she continued her activism and created Tools For Change, a non-profit organization that provides young people with tools like mental health resources and money management advice. She is also well-known for her work in fighting child sex trafficking. 


Whitney Wolfe Herd - Founder & CEO of Bumble 

Whitney Wolfe Herd is well-known as the Founder & CEO of Bumble but also shattering the glass ceiling in many aspects. After she resigned as the Vice President of Marketing for Tinder due to growing tensions with other executives, she filed a lawsuit against Tinder for sexual harassment. After receiving online hate, she began envisioning a female-focused dating app. In 2021, Whitney became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire (!!) after Bumble went public.  


Holly Sheehan & Fleur Larsen - Founders of Skate Like a Girl

Holly Sheehan & Fleur Larsen founded Skate Like a Girl in 2000 while students at Evergreen State College. After spending their childhoods around often male-dominated skateparks, the duo decided to create a space for marginalized individuals of all ages and abilities to skate. The organization quickly expanded across the western United States and now serves hundreds of communities through events, workshops, and nonprofit work.


Kim Ng - General Manager of Miami Marlins

Kim Ng currently serves as the General Manager of the Miami Marlins. She is currently the highest-ranking female executive in baseball. After playing college softball, Ng worked her way up in the front office of various MLB teams until she became the Vice President of the league. She has shattered glass ceilings as the first woman to serve as a General Manager of a “big four” MLB team as well as the first person of East Asian descent.


Ketanji Brown Jackson - US Supreme Court Justice

As Lizzo once said, it’s about damn time! In 2022, Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson became the first black woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court as the 116th Associate Justice. Justice Jackson has broken barriers since attending Harvard Law School, boasting 3 clerkships, working in private practice, as a public defender, and then nominated by Barack Obama as the vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission.

Gitanjali Rao - Scientist & Inventor

Now 17-years-old and a senior in high school, Indian-American scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao was named TIME magazine’s first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ in 2020 for creating a water contamination tool in response to the water crisis in Flint, MI. Now, she has patented 7 different innovations and impacted tens of thousands of other students through innovation workshops and anti-bullying measures.


Melanie Perkins - CEO & Co-Founder of Canva

We <3 Canva here at Une Femme, so of course we had to honor the Australian technology entrepreneur who is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech startup valued over $1 billion (AUD). Perkins created Canva in 2013 in order to make graphic design more accessible to all. Despite initial skepticism, Perkins has grown the company and attracted 60 million monthly users.


Chelsie Hill - Dancer & Founder of The Rollettes

Chelsie Hill was paralyzed from the waist down following a car accident when she was just 17-years-old. She was not willing to give up her love of dance, so she created the Rollettes dance team in 2012 to meet other women like her and foster a space to dance together. Now, the Rollettes provide a community in 20 different countries through dance classes, mentorship programs, and women’s empowerment workshops.


Ayanna Howard - Roboticist 

Ayanna Howard is the head of Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, one of Business Insider’s “Most Powerful Women Engineers”, and currently working to design a cutting-edge robot that can help children with special needs live better, healthier lives. She has launched na entire industry that combines technology with positive social change. 


Inioluwa Deborah Raji, Research Fellow at Algorithmic Justice League

At the young age of 24, this intern-turned-advocate has worked her way up to one of the star researchers at the Algorithmic Justice League. One of her largest projects was working on an audit of Amazon’s new facial recognition product, where she and her team discovered it was significantly less accurate for darker-skinned women than for white women. Over 70 other top AI researchers signed an open letter in support of her work and this, combined with public pressure, led amazon to agree to support facial recognition regulation and work to prevent increased discrimination due to their product.


Fareedah Shaheed, Founder of Sekuva

No tech experience? No problem. Founder of Sekuva, Fareedah Shaheed teaches online security to non-tech savvy people. She works with multi-billion-dollar companies to provide online security training for its employees on staying safe online. Inspired by her childhood in Saudi Arabia, where, as the only Black American in her school, she was bullied for her skin color and American roots, Shaheed wants to teach people how to protect their spaces online much like she had to do in person.


Brittany Barnett, Activist

At 22-years-old, Brittany Barnett witnessed her mother be incarcerated for an underlying drug addiction. She was heavily impacted by this experience and began to consider the reality of incarcerated women, especially how many of them are mothers. In the past six years, Barnett and her small team have helped over 50 incarcerated mothers rebuild their relationships with their daughters and welcomed 150 girls to break generational cycles through her Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM) program.


Elyse Fox - Activist & CEO of Sad Girls Club

Elyse Fox founded Sad Girls Club in 2017 as a safe space for black and brown women to receive mental health services, support, resources and education. Inspired by her own experience with depression and the act of seeking help, Fox quickly noticed the lack of diversity in the mental health community. Since then, she has created a documentary called Conversations with Friends, served as the CEO of Sad Girls Club, and connected thousands of young women with mentors for their mental health struggles.


Megan Rohrer - Minister & Activist

Megan Rohrer is well-known as a barrier breaker within the religious community. The Lutheran minister was the first openly transgender minister ordained in the Lutheran Tradition. Since then, the minister has served in several prestigious positions such as the bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod, becoming the first openly trans person to serve as bishop of a major US Christian denomination. Additionally, Rohrer continues to work with the unhoused population in San Francisco, fundraise for various causes, and advocate for transgender folks on a national scale.


Fraidy Reiss - Activist

Fraidy Reiss is about as fearless as it gets. After an arranged marriage to a man she knew for three months at age 19, Reiss experienced domestic violence and other forms of abuse over 12 years of marriage. Eventually, she left her abusive husband and community, who subsequently shunned her. In that period of intense loneliness in 2011, Reiss founded the non-profit organization Unchained At Last with a mission to support women who wish to leave arranged and forced marriages. They offer legal and social services tailored to each client’s background. The organization also pushes for laws to prohibit marriage under age 18 in many states.


Nemonte Nenquimo - Activist

Nemonte Nenquimo is a member of the Waorani Nation from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador. The Indigenous activist is the first female president of the tribe and co-founder of the Indiginous-led non profit organization called Ceibo Alliance that works to protect Indigenous lands from resource extraction. In 2019, Nenquimo helped champion a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government to protect Amazonian lands and provide Indigenous Nations with a pathway to counteract resource exploitation in their homelands.


Betti Wiggins - Officer of Nutrition Services

Anyone who’s been to school before knows the importance of our school lunch providers, and Betti Wiggins of Houston Independent School District is going the extra mile. Since 2017, Wiggins has worked as the Officer of Nutrition Services at one of the largest school districts in the nation. “Quality food,” Wiggins says, “the kind which supplies sufficient calories and nutrition to allow focus, learning, productivity and growth, is the right of every child, really every human being.” Wiggins has helped reform the school district’s approach to student nutrition through educational programs and narrowing the school lunch menus to include more nutritious foods, all while working with a tight public school budget. She also encourages students to expand their culinary horizons by featuring more world cuisines and boost vegetable options.


Sallie Krawcheck - Co-Founder & CEO

Sallie Krawcheck is the Co-founder & CEO of Ellevest, a woman-focused digital financial advisor app. Known as one of the most powerful women of wall street, Krawcheck has been shattering glass ceilings since day one. She’s found herself as CFO for Citigroup, CEO of Citi's wealth management business, and heading the Merrill Lynch division of Bank of America. In 2015, she started Ellevest to redefine investing and make it more accessible for women.

These women are certainly not all of the people who are shattering glass ceilings and creating space for women to grow and thrive. There are so many modern changemakers that it’s almost impossible to list them all.

Do you know someone who’s uplifting and impacting other women? We recognize women who are leaders in their field, creating space for other women to succeed, and know that women are strong alone, but better together.

Nominate them here to be a part of our Hall of Femme.